EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA Recognises World Refugee Day 2019June 20, 2019 - 08:30
World Vision, 2019
In Somalia, an estimated 2.6 million people have had to flee their homes because of insecurity.
Today, EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA joins the United Nations Refugee Agency in recognising World Refugee Day, a day on which we honour the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees. It is also a day on which we remind ourselves of the significance of our commitment to protecting food aid shipments to Somalia and the Horn of Africa at a time when the severity of food insecurity in the region is increasing.
Over 68 million people worldwide have been forced to flee their homes due to violence and conflict. The majority of those people come from the same six countries: Somalia, Myanmar, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (World Vision, 2019).
The United Nations (UN) announced this month that 2.2 million people in Somalia could face acute food insecurity by September, a 40 percent increase from just six months ago. The report also speculated that a further 3.2 million people could need assistance by the end of the year. In Somalia, an estimated 2.6 million people have had to flee their homes because of insecurity (World Vision, 2019). The need for humanitarian aid continues as a result of continual conflict and severe drought in Somalia.
“Communities that were already vulnerable due to past droughts are again facing severe hunger and water scarcity and are at risk from deadly communicable diseases,” said Mark Lowcock, the top humanitarian official at the United Nations, in a statement. He described aid agencies in Somalia as “overstretched and grappling with a severe lack of funding.”
Since the beginning of Operation ATALANTA in 2008, a key task in the operation mandate has been the protection of UN World Food Programme (WFP) vessels as they transit through high-threat areas around the Horn of Africa and the Somali Basin. Operation ATALANTA’s protection of these vessels has so far allowed for WFP to safely deliver over 1.8 million tonnes of aid shipments to refugees in Somalia and the Horn of Africa.
EU NAVFOR works in partnership with the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and other regional maritime security agencies to protect vulnerable vessels from the dangers of piracy and armed robbery at sea. EU NAVFOR also embarks Military Armed Security Teams—known as Autonomous Vessel Protection Detachments (AVPDs)—onto WFP vessels to act as a deterrent to would-be pirates.
On World Refugee Day this year, EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta is proud to cooperate with these various organizations, EU member states and regional actors to ensure that we do our part to provide necessary aid to refugees in the Horn of Africa.
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